Thursday, April 27, 2006

Boy, Did I Feel Dumb!

This is a true story and please don't laugh too hard because it'll hurt my feelings. But a good chuckle is OK.

A couple of nights ago I stayed up way past my bedtime to answer some subscribers' question. (Yes, I do it myself and no one but me sees your messages.)

One of the questions sent was - "What should my USP be?"

I stared at this question for several minutes - not trying to come up with a good answer. But rather, trying to figure out what the question was.

In my defense, it had been 21 hours since I'd gotten any sleep and several body parts were telling me I should lay down. But did I listen? No, I wanted to get that 1 last question answered.

So, I stared at this question wondering what the heck was a USP.

I finally gave up and replied with the question - "What's a USP?"

Boy, did I feel dumb when the sender replied with - "Unique Selling Position."

So today you get 2 tips for the price of 1.

Tip Number 1: When you're too tired to work your business properly, go to bed.

Tip Number 2: What your Unique Selling Position should be:

First let me tell you what your USP is not:
  • It's not your logo
  • It's not your slogan or branding phrase
  • It's not you trying to please everyone everywhere
  • It's not you modeling your business the way someone else did.

So if your USP is not all of the above - what is it?

Your Unique Selling Position should be what makes you different from all your competition.

And as simple as the phrase sounds, it's 1 of the hardest things most internet markets have to define.

Here are some things to help you find your USP:

  1. Have those who know you best list your best qualities like: good sense of humor, explains things well or knows a lot of trivia, etc. Incorporate 1 or more of these qualities into your business.
  2. Have everyone who is involved in your business write down every reason someone would want to do business with you and then remove all the reasons that are true for your competition

What's left is what makes your Unique Selling Position.

Here's an example of what I mean:

Last night I was investigating the "pixel advertising" craze and visited at least 25 or more sites that offer it. Of all those sites, only 2 stick in my mind as sites I would revisit if I was in their targeted niche, "pixel advertising" and here's why:

  • Both sites had a well defined primary niche that wasn't "pixel advertising":1 site was for people who like crossword puzzles and the other was for teens.
  • Both sites had incorporated this secondary niche in a unique manner that screamed - "Buy an ad." (The crossword puzzle site had made a crossword puzzle on the pixel ad grid and letters were uncovered as you clicked on the different ads. The teen site had reduced the size of the pixel grid so that it appeared next to their site's secondary headline like a picture.)
  • By incorporating their secondary niche with the first in a unique way, they had a definite USP for "pixel advertising" and that's what I was searching for.

While I can't tell you how well these 2 sites defined the USP for their primary niche, I can tell you they did a fantastic job for their second and it's one that makes money. They sell a lot of pixels.

The bottom line is:

To define your USP you must know your business, know what your customers want and know yourself. After you combine all this information and remove what your competition has to offer, you'll have created your own Unique Selling Position.

To Your Success,

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Oops - Lost Another One

Have you wanted to check out a site and seen

"Page Not Found" (also known as the 404 error page)?

Bet you didn't sign-up, buy anything or bookmark it for future reference.

In fact, every time a "Page Not Found" error comes up on someone's screen, the owner of those sites should say - "Oops, I lost another one ... and it's my fault"

Sure, when your page comes up not everyone will take you up on your fantastic offer. But if they see the famous "Page Not Found" error page - you don't even have a chance to present your offer.

But ...

You can fix ALL the possibilities of having a 404 error displayed on your site easily and here's how.

  1. Go into the root directory for your site and see if you have a file named ".htaccess" If you don't, you need one. If you do, you need to edit it.

  2. Go to

  3. Place the url of the page you would like your visitor to see instead of the 404 error page in the box under "404 - Not Found"

  4. Click the "Create .httaccess file" button and copy the code.

  5. If you already have a .htaccess file in your root directory you can simply edit it, paste the code into it and save. You're done

  6. If you don't have a .htaccess file then open your favorite text editor and paste the code into it.

  7. How you save the file correctly is very important.

    * The file name is ".htaccess" - don't include the " but
    do include the . (period) in front of the h

    * You have to select "all file types" from the menu of types
    allowed in the save box that came up

    * You do not add any extension type to the file name - in
    other words - there is not . (period) after the file name with
    any extension type like txt or doc.

  8. Upload the file you just created into your root directory

The page you choose to redirect to for the "Page Not Found" error can by any page you chose. It can be a page on your site. It can be another site. It can be an affiliate link.

After you've defined where your 404 page will send your visitors you'll know they won't see any of those error pages on your site again and they only time they might get to one is if you've redirected them to a non-existing page on someone else's site.

To Your Success,

PS To see the page I created for those nasty 404 error pages go to: and look at the actual url in the address bar.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Love My Job

Have you ever seen 1 of those plaques in a tourist shop that stated something like -

" A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work."

(If you're not a fisherman you can use whatever your favorite hobby is.)

Now I always got a chuckle out of those silly plaques but never bought one. Instead, I bought a coffee cup for my coffee cup collection and it said -

"I love my job."
"I love my job."
" I love my job."
" I need the money."

Now why do you suppose people buy things that make fun of their job?

While I can't speak for everyone I know I got mine because there were days when I didn't want to go to work. I worked at a place that was casual and most everyone was nice. I had good bosses and I liked what I did. But still, there were days when I just didn't want to go to work.

But now I have an online business and according to all the "gurus" I can work my own hours, work in my pajamas and make lots of money while I'm asleep.

And it's sorta true.

I do set my own hours although there's never enough of them.

I have worked in my pajamas with the curtains closed so no one would see me.

I've even made some money while I slept.

But you know what?

There are still days when I don't want to go to work - even though I can work my own hours, dress however I want, have a great boss (me), like everyone I work with (you) and enjoy what I do.

So what's wrong with me?

The same thing that's wrong with you.

We're all human and we have "off" days (sometimes 2 or 3 of them.)

Even if you truly like your online business you will occasionally have days when you just don't want to do anything. These types of days are usually caused by:
  • Stress - You need to do some non-business related work and you've been putting it off. It's hard to concentrate on a sales page when you need to balance your checkbook or file your taxes. Take the time to relieve your stress and do the task you've been putting off.
  • Burn Out - You've been working your business every minute you could and haven't taken any time to enjoy your life. To quote from a wise fellow internet marketer, "Internet marketing is what you and I do but it is not your life." Take some time for yourself and your family.
  • Frustration - You've done a lot of work and it seems like it's never going to get finished or you finished but didn't get the expected results. This is a hard one because there's no one good solution. If you can find help to get finished or rework your project - get it. If you can't get any help then step back from your project, break it into small, manageable pieces and tackle one piece at a time. As you finish each piece, reward yourself with something.
  • Depression - Everyone gets depressed for lots of different reasons so this is another hard one. If you know what's causing your depression you have a better chance of getting over it. If you don't know what's causing it and it lasts a long time you may need to see a doctor. (No, I won't define a long time because I am not a doctor.)
  • Loneliness - You work your business alone and don't talk about it to anyone. This is one of the biggest reasons many quit their online business. You need to talk to someone. If you don't have any family or friends to talk to then join some forums or find some others with online businesses and communicate online.
Being motivated every day at your job or online business is hard. Fortunately, with your online business you have some control over what you can do to help you get motivated again.

To Your Success,

PS By the way, I am not an exercise fanatic but do recommend that you get some exercise every day. Taking some time to keep your muscles in shape and your blood circulating will help you both physically and mentally. And the great thing about exercise is that you can actually accomplish something beneficial to both you and your environment. You can:
  • Take a walk outdoors and carry a liter bag.
  • Jog or bicycle to run errands close to home or visit friends who live close by. Why pollute the air by driving 3 blocks to the mailbox when you don't have to?
  • Mow the grass or shovel snow when necessary. (Just be careful to not overdo it.)
  • Offer to help a neighbor who has difficulty doing their yard work or putting out the trash. (This will make them feel better too and you might find someone to talk to.)
  • Become an adult leader for a youth group - scouts, baseball, basketball, etc. (This will take away some of your time and you can't eat as much as they do but it's very rewarding in addition to being a physical challenge.)
  • There are many other ways to get some daily exercise so exercise your mind and find one. (And trips to the refrigerator don't count.)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Do You Know Who's On Your List?

Since many subscribers say selling to their own list is the hardest part of internet marketing let me ask you:

Do you know who is on your list?

No, I don't mean their names and email addresses.

I mean the types of people on your list.

Basically there are 4 types of people on your list:
  1. Those who will never buy or join anything you offer. They don't even take your freebies.
  2. Those who never buy but do take some of your free products.
  3. Those who buy your primary product.
  4. Those who don't buy your primary product but will purchase other things if the "right" offer is presented.

So how do you use this knowledge about your subscribers?

  1. Don't worry about group 1. This group is of no value to your business because if they don't ever buy from you they probably won't buy from any of your paid advertisers either. It's because of this group that many online publishers clean their list regularly.
  2. For group 2 to be of value you must periodically give some form of viral product away. Make sure it's something of value and it's branded with your information. Then, hopefully, some of those in this group will share your free product and help you with your viral marketing efforts.
  3. Groups 3 and 4 are where you want to focus most of your effort. You need to send them additional offers on a regular basis.

    The offers you send them should primarily be for products and services related to why they joined your list. You can surprise them occasionally with offers aimed at a different target market but don't do it too often and don't expect too many sales.

    If sales are still slow in coming from these 2 groups you should investigate and find out what types of products they are looking for and you should start testing different ads, sales letters and product prices. While selling to these groups may not be "rocket science," it's not always as easy as everyone claims it is either.

Many beginning online marketers think they will make enough income by selling 1 product or service to their own list. While this is always possible it is highly improbable.

Instead, you've got to keep growing your list and market additional products and services. After you've mastered the art of selling to your own list you're ready to venture into the other many ways of growing your business.

To Your Success,